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How e-commerce platforms are bridging logistics challenges for Nigeria’s retailers

How e-commerce platforms are bridging logistics challenges for Nigeria’s retailers

Through technology, retail business owners’ interface with manufacturers and approved distributors where they have access to numerous goods which they easily order and get delivered for free.

Leveraging innovative logistics systems created by business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce platforms, retailers in Nigeria now provides better experiences of doing business.

Instead of having to spend money on transport through and from the open markets, these retailers channel the money to order more goods which increases their bottom line, just as the Nigerian digital economy holds immense potential for the overall growth of the economy.

According to the minister of state for Budget and National Planning, Clem Ikanade Agba, the digital economy would raise the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 15 percent by 2025.

While there are so many actors in the digital sphere contributing to make this a reality, the activities of B2B e-commerce companies cannot be overlooked. This group has led in revolutionising the operations of the retail sector across the country, particularly the underserved areas.

Over the years, distance to market, inadequate transport/logistics system and limited infrastructure make it difficult for retailers to buy and convey goods to their stores with ease.

Innovative B2B platforms like Alerzo have identified this infrastructure deficit, leveraging technology to bridge the delivery landscape for retailers of mostly fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) in the country.

Read also: How B2B e-commerce platforms are redefining Nigeria’s $100bn informal retail market

Since 2019, Alerzo has been delivering free of charge to its customers in ensuring that the micro businesses that play in the retail sector do not go through stress in obtaining inventory as it is more convenient and safer to shop on e-commerce platforms.

“We’ve made the restocking process easier by making them available on simple channels like USSD codes and WhatsApp. More importantly, we are also training retailers in rural communities on how they can order goods using our app. Improved internet penetration is also helping because many of them have smartphones, they only need little guidance and teaching,” Adewale Opaleye, Alerzo CEO, stated while commenting on e-commerce contribution to GDP.

Opaleye explained that in alignment with the firm’s commitment to serve thousands of retailers on its platform and in turn promote retail business in the country, over 500 vehicles and 40 warehouses are used for FMCG supply directly from the manufacturers and genuine distributors to retailers.

By connecting manufacturers and distributors to micro businesses through digital technology, B2B e-commerce companies are making the FMCG supply chain operate more effectively, saving cost by extending reach and safety.

However, to increase the sector’s contribution to GDP, there is a need for e-commerce platforms to be given more support to help the manufacturers, distributors, B2B e-commerce and micro business ecosystem run profitably and sustainably.

With the positive impacts e-commerce platforms are making along with other players in the digital space; the government and other stakeholders can leverage on the positive contribution of the logistics sector being driven by e-commerce to grow Nigeria’s digital economy for the overall development of the country.

To propel the country towards attaining a vibrant digital economy, the Federal Government unveiled a roadmap in the form of a National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020 to 2030. Worthy of note also is the fact that the retail sector worth $100billion in itself contributes 50 percent of the country’s GDP.

Led by the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, government agencies such as National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) have keyed into this, formulating policy directions towards a vibrant digital economy for Nigeria.